VeganMoFo

Month of Memories: Austin Research

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Hello!

If you follow this blog or our Facebook page, you may remember a trip we took to Austin earlier this year. While it cemented our love for vegan tacos, the primary goal was location scouting.

Austin is the best
Austin is the best

In between eating tacos, we held inspiring meetings and saw event spaces that gave us some really exciting ideas we’re all looking forward to sharing with you all (hint: some of them are here).

The three of us, at the location in Austin that inspired us to do something new and, we think--really fun.
The three of us doing are usual muggin’ in Austin at the location we scouted that gave us an idea for an event we’re embarking on in (hopefully) 2014.

We had such a good time and got to spend time with lovely Austin folks like Lazy Smurf and the Tates‘. Austin definitely holds a place in our collective hearts.

Month of Memories: Opening VVC2011

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Photo credit: Kristina Sloggett
Photo credit: Kristina Sloggett

Starting off with a memory from long, long ago. It’s the opening greeting at the first Vida Vegan Con, in August 2011. Obviously, we didn’t shoot this; it’s from Kristina Sloggett’s coverage on Spabettie.

Jess had just finished talking and it was my turn, which meant a pretty big adjustment for the microphone. Of course the cord was wrapped around the stand too tight so it was difficult to raise for me…and awkwardness ensued. Newbie mistake! But like most of the newbie mistakes we made that first conference, we laughed our way through it, figured out how to prevent it from ever happening again, and with a little help—OK, a lot of help—we got the job done.

 

Behind the Scenes: Vida Vegan Summertime Stuff

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Why, hello there, VeganMoFo VII!  Vida Vegan Headquarters is kicking off our big month of memories with the most recent, by sharing some photographic evidence that all three of your friendly organizers have managed to experience some good old-fashioned summer time-ing.  

Without further adieu, an Instagram collection:

Janessa: Double scoop of white chocolate & oreo vegan ice cream in Vienna. @Janessapk
Michele: A duo of Sweet Hereafters, Sweet Hereafter. Now, that’s a summer afternoon well spent. @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: Continued to spend her summer as a farmers market groupie. Nothing new there. @jdfunks
Janessa: literally found herself on Abbey Road. @Janessapk
Michele: Conquered giardiniera and is hopefully going to share… @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: had an ongoing rotation of fancy homemade vegan cheeses and pickles. @jdfunks
Janessa: continued documenting amazing photos on her #Janessagoesthere tour with these schoolkids caught in a thunderstorm in Vietnman. @Janessapk
Michele: Loves summertime salsa. Enough said. @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: finally lived out her small dream of judging a cooking competition, with the Vegan Iron Chef Pop Up! Taco Shop! community cook-off. @jdfunks
Bonus Vida Vegan Headquarters international Google Hangout time. Way more fun that it looks! @Janessapk

And there’s your quick taste of what Janessa, Michele and myself have been up to this summer since the whirlwind weekend that was VVC2013. All three of us are also doing VeganMoFo over at our own blogs, so catch more at Epicurious Vegan, Vegtastic Voyage and Get Sconed!

See you back here soon! There’s so, so much in store at Vida Vegan Headquarters.

VeganMoFo. It’s our Time to Shine!

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It is upon us.

It’s VeganMoFo, when we make the Internet explode with vegan recipes, food porn, discoveries, kitchen tours, love letters to appliances…yeah, it can get weird.  The pledge we take to post every day for a month (at least Monday through Friday) energizes us, scares us, and and gets those creative juices flowing.

This year it’s happening in September, which means a little more light a little later in the evening, so you can more easily shoot your dinner. Thumbs. Up.

Are you in? Do you have a 30-day theme (like Janessa’s Bites From Abroad)? A day-of-the-week theme (don’t miss Thai Tuesdays from Jess)? Have you already been shooting and have a stash of drafts ready to go? Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants like me, letting the pressure fuel you into late-night ramblings about how much better organic cilantro is than conventional cilantro (it can make a HUGE difference), or an ode to the perfect frosting, with a texture so luxurious it licks you back?

If you haven’t signed up yet, via the official VeganMoFo page, step to! August 28 (tomorrow?!?!) is the deadline to get on the 2013 VeganMoFo BlogRoll. And while you’re picking up your official MoFo graphics, check out their advice on brainstorming and theming. Team MoFo (including a handful of your VVC pals) is there to help.

Team Vida is participating again…which makes it our third year in a row here at VVHQ. For 2011 we had a cocktail lounge theme, and in 2012 we were focused on blogging tech. This year we’re looking back at past Vida happenings, sharing photos and memories with you. And we’ll have some guest posts in there, from the greater Vida Vegan family. (Insert something about hugs here.) So go team. Let’s do it. You’re all #1.

Now go MoFo like a mofo.

Seattle Spotlight: Seattle Central Library

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We at Vida Vegan HQ love the Seattle Central Library. It’s oddly-shaped and weird and just so so unique and cool.

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When we visited in April 2012 to research the best venue for the one day Tech Seminar, once we toured the library, we knew right away this was the right spot for us.

With stunning architecture and a central location, The Central Library is gorgeously awkward. Just our style!

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The coolest part, for us, is the Red Room on the fourth floor.

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This is where the meeting rooms are located.

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The Tech Seminar this Saturday will be in a conference room on this red level, so for those of you that are coming, be prepared to get all “Red Room Red Room” up in here. (It’s Halloween season, so this The Shining reference totally fits. Apologies for the creepy link!)

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Our bright and cozy meeting space!

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See some of you this Saturday! Any last minute suggestions for places to eat?

New York City Vegan Food Friday: Photo Essay

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Hello, hello! Jess here, and I’m currently nearing the end of a special New York hiatus. As a native Long Islander (which I don’t always admit, so we must all be friends here), I’ve been seeking out vegetarian options in the city since I was in high school. No matter how long I’m in town for, there are always a few locales on my must-go lists, and so many damn new places to try and work in! This time around, it had not only been three years since I’d last been, I also had my never-been-to-New York girlfriend with me, and we only had so much time on our hands with a wedding to attend, museums to visit, shopping, sightseeing and sleeping. I had been talking up how New York makes the best bagels, knishes (and explaining what one was), pizza, ice cream and falafel, big time, and while we didn’t check everything off our list (I’m trying!), we threw in some Thai, a vegan diner and crossaints.

Here’s a peak into our first few days for Vida Vegan’s MoFo! Food! Friday!

A new favorite: Champs Bakery & Diner

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SAG bagel sandwich: faux egg & soysage with chipotle mayo, Champs Bakery & Diner

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Hummus Triple Deke Club, Champs Bakery & Diner

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Vegan eggplant slice for me, vegan pepperoni basil slice for J. Legume, Vinnie’s

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Tofu cream cheese selection (nearly all vegan), Bagels on the Square

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Smoked tofu, pesto & sun-dried tomato panini, S’nice

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Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich (which I have to admit, I was expecting more Tofurkey from), S’nice

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Falafel & fries, Maoz

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Eggplant & tofu in spicy garlic sauce, Pukk

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Green Delight, Pukk

 Just this morning, my sister and I walked from her apartment in Brooklyn to a nearby vegan doughnut shop…delightful….and I have three more days to go! For more obsessive NYC vegan dining updates, check it

Speaker Q&A: Kelly Peloza of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

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Kelly Peloza and Gnocchi

Welcome back to our ongoing Vida Vegan Q & A series, where we discuss snazzy tricks, tips, vegan food and the future of blogging with speakers from our upcoming, one-day intensive Tech Seminar (tickets available here) in Seattle, WA and the now three-day conference this May in Portland. Today’s insight comes from 2011 & 2013 speaker, Kelly Peloza, of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat. Back when I was in college, my part-time jobs included selling over-priced movie tickets and angrily scooping ice cream. Kelly, on the other hand, works on her degree in the arts by day, while developing her second cookbook, set to star vegan cocktail-inspired desserts, by night. Kelly rules.

Q & A with Kelly Peloza

Where do you see blogging going?
It’s crazy how just recently, vegan food blogging was just a hobby for most people, but now some bloggers are turning it into full-time jobs, publishing books, and there’s a whole conference dedicated to vegan bloggers! WordPress, Blogger, and other services have become far more intuitive and well-designed, so it’s almost effortless to get the bare essentials of a blog up and running. I can only imagine this will continue and bloggers will take their food writing even more seriously, creating better content, connections, and ideas to share.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use Lightroom, then add any finishing touches in Photoshop if necessary.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I love how some bloggers bring unique elements to their blogs, like how Amey at Vegan Eats and Treats illustrates her posts and Hannah of BitterSweet posts her food-related knit and crochet projects. I’m not so sure about raw food or Instagram. Or Instagrams of raw food.

What blogs/websites do you read?
Vegansaurus is one of my favorites, plus the massive PPK MoFo feed! It’s fun finding new blogs to follow through Vegan MoFo.

What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I loved Highline Bar, and Mighty-O donuts for breakfast!

In Portland?
It was all about the food carts! You can’t go wrong with Native Bowl and a macnocheetoh burrito(seriously, see here) from Homegrown Smoker.

Agreed!

Thanks, Kelly!

For more information on November 3rd’s Tech Seminar, visit here. For information on our return to Portland, OR in May 2013 (tickets are already for sale) read this. To check out Kelly’s first cookbook, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, go here.

Seattle Spotlight: Pike Place Market

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Possibly what Seattle is known best for (unless you follow sports; I bet Seattle has some famous sports team or something), Pike Place Market lives up to it’s reputation. With a beautiful view of Puget Sound, Pike Place is filled with cobblestone streets, little specialty shops, and a big market filled with fresh flowers, fresh pasta and fresh produce (Nevermind the ‘fresh’ fish; ugh).

There’s also the little thing known as the Gum Wall nearby.

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A cute shop sells authentic grenadine. Grenadine is traditionally made out of pomegranate, but now most brands just use red coloring and sugar water. I loved finding this.

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A cozy little bookstore located in the market center.

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The famous Gum Wall:

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Yep, all gum.

 

 

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We love Pike Place Market. What are some of your favorite spots in Seattle?

Food Fun Friday: Mexican Love

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If you like Mexican food, raise your hand.

 

*raises hand*

 

I hope every single one of you reading this post has your hand raised right now. Because 1.) If you don’t, what kind of monster are you? (I don’t  even want to know) and 2.) I’m about to blast all ya’ll with some mouth-watering pictures.

 

Whether it’s tacos, nachos, burritos, enchiladas or just a simple chips n’ guac, there is something so beautifully simple and satisfying about vegan Mexican food.

I’m a simple girl (*cough* just don’t ask my ex-boyfriends) who likes simple fare. Give me a corn tortilla, beans, avocado and cilantro, and I’m happy. You can get fancy and throw in jalapeños, cabbage, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, fakey melty cheese, pico de gallo, or spinach, and I’m an even happier girl. Just don’t put rice in the mix, I’ll glower at you.

Here’s some of my favorite dishes:

 

 

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homemade jackfruit carnitas tacos

 

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Nachos from El Nutri, my favorite vegan Mexican food in Portland.  (Ordered with refried beans instead of black beans, because let’s be honest: pinto beans are the bomb.)

 

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Green Taco from El Nutri, with a side of fresh jalapeños

 

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Tri-colored chips and bean salsa from Beaches Restaurant in Vancouver WA (Why was I at Beaches in Vancouver? Don’t ask.)

 

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A build-your-own spread at Who Song and Larry’s in Vancouver Wa. Nothing vegan on the menu, but you can annoyingly build your own meal. They love us there.

 

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Homemade enchiladas. Half with olives, half without (the roomie doesn’t like olives; she calls them ‘the devil’s eyeballs’)

 

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Slightly blurry pic of enchiladas. My hands were shaking in anticipation, probably.

 

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Green Taco and Potato Taco from El Nutri

 

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Homemade tacos

 

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Tortillas and guac from Gracias Madre in San Francisco

 

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Tacos from Gracias Madre in San Francisco

 

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Nachos from El Nutri

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Nachos from El Nutri (Instagram Pic)

 

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CHIMICHUNGA from El Nutri. Oh, yes I did go there!

 

dessert rito

I gotta include this one. This is Amber’s award-winning dessert burrito from 2011.

The description, from her blog:

Warm cinnamon and chili apples wrapped in a cinnamon sugar glazed tortilla, topped with vanilla So Delicious ice cream, drizzled with homemade dulce de leche (HOLY SHIT.) and sprinkled with coconut.

 

What are some of YOUR favorite Mexican dishes, recipes and restaurants?

Speaker Q&A with John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans

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In preparation for our upcoming Tech Seminar, we here at Vida Vegan HQ have been discussing blogging and the vegan internet non-stop (as usual), but with an even greater focus on the technical side of things; pondering just where we all see both long and short-form blogging evolving in the future. It’s a curious topic, to say the least. Since it’s so heavy on our minds, we reached out to our own experts, including speakers from November 3rd’s event and our 2013 roster*, to weigh in with their own thoughts on the state of blogging, technical insight, and their favorite Pacific Northwest vegan options. Of course.

First up, is the dedicated blogger who’s your go-to-guy for the latest on vegan snacks, and someone to ask for vegan survival thriving advice if you’re ever in Nebraska: 2011 & 2013 Vida Vegan Speaker John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans in the World, where he’s currently featuring his thoughts on pumpkin spice coconut milk, and local vegan community hub, Vegan Omaha. John shares his honest thoughts on Tumblr, monetizing trends, the blogs he actually reads, and love for the vegan fishwich.

Q & A with John McDevitt

Where do you see blogging going?
I’m not a big fan of Tumblr, but it’s probably going more in that direction. Micro blogging or whatever is mobile friendly. I would probably blog more if Blogger had a decent app.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I’m pretty boring, Picasa.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I like that more people are getting into it. I dislike the ad/monetizing thing, it’s pretty annoying. If you get tens of thousands a views a month, ok, but most bloggers don’t. Has anyone ever clicked one of those ads? No.

What blogs/websites do you read? I don’t look at as many as I should. My favorite blogs are Post Punk Kitchen, Vegansaurus, Vegan Crunk, and The Gay Vegans.

What do you want to learn more about at the Tech Seminar?
How to monetize!?!?!?

In Portland?
Vita Fishwich

Thanks, John! Keeping it real.

Want to chime in with your own thoughts? Please do so below, or email us at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail.com

*full 2012 line up being disclosed soon!